Play On - Carrie Underwood

Mixed or average reviews - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Here, the artist seems to finally feel comfortable in her own skin. It's a wide-ranging album-she's in love, out of love, light-hearted and playful.
  2. As always, her vocal ability is beyond reproach; a crack in the immaculately polished veneer, however, would be welcome too.
  3. The earnest ballads outnumber the uptempo stuff with a lower hit-to-miss ratio and feel a lot more generic in terms of who is/could be singing them.
  4. No amount of hackneyed songwriting can undermine Ms. Underwood’s voice, which is consistently impressive, capable of pneumatic thrusts. It enlivens plenty of moments here.
  5. On Play On her approach results in a scattershot collection that too often mistakes bombast for sincerity ('Unapologize') and sap for sentiment ('Temporary Home').
  6. Carrie takes a much stronger presence as a writer here, co-authoring seven of the 13 songs, and she's attracted to hookless showstoppers designed to showcase her powerful voice, all glory notes with no glory. When she sticks to tunes written solely by the professionals, Play On does have some slick pleasures.
  7. She still lacks the grit and the distinctive, intuitive phrasing of the best country singers, but the better moments of Play On suggest that she's capable of developing into more than a technically proficient cipher.
  8. Play On exhibits a distressing lack of dimension for a singer with Underwood's obvious abilities.
  9. It’s not all unremittingly awful; generally, all the faux-shitkicking glossy country Bon Jovi stuff is half-way listenable. But brother, do the ballads ever stink.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 81 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Aug 18, 2014
    Love this female singer...She's awesome...always have loved her music since she was on American Idol. ..She's got an amazing voice...have all her albums and singles Full Review »
  2. Aug 30, 2013
    Considered by some to this day as the worst album in Underwood's catalog, I beg to differ. Perhaps even to argue that is her greatest, and most praise worthy album? Harvesting a plethora of country-pop crossover gems that even Taylor Swift would seethe for, Play On is by far Underwood's most commercially accessible album to date. Cowboy Casanova, Quitter, This Time, Unapologize, Someday When I Stop Loving You, and even the more-country boasting Songs Like This, all pleading to become earworms. The latter of which is the obligatory Before He Cheats clone, even rivals that classic with Underwood's sassy and snark vocal delivery. With ballads that beg for a bottle of tears through Mama's Song, Temporary Home, and even the album's weakest track, Change, there's enough diversity to appease everyone. Play On is certainly an album that crosses the border between Country and Pop for Underwood. And in doing so, it does not sacrifice quality, being as a superb achievement for an album. Full Review »
  3. Feb 20, 2012
    This is the sound of modernized country music with a touch of inspiring songs. No song will be wasted in this album. The vocals of Carrie Underwood is clearly set to be the new standard of country genre Full Review »